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Research Project: Childhood Obesity Prevention

Location: Children's Nutrition Research Center

Title: Motivators and barriers to engaging in healthy eating and physical activity in young adult men

Author
item Ashton, Lee - University Of Newcastle
item Hutchesson, M - University Of Newcastle
item Rollo, M - University Of Newcastle
item Morgan, P - University Of Newcastle
item Thompson, Deborah - Debbe
item Collins, C - University Of Newcastle

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/16/2015
Publication Date: 6/5/2015
Citation: Ashton, L.M., Hutchesson, M.J., Rollo, M.E., Morgan, P.J., Thompson, D.J., Collins, C.E. 2015. Motivators and barriers to engaging in healthy eating and physical activity in young adult men [abstract]. International Society of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activiy Annual Conference, June 3-6, 2015, Edinburgh, Scotland. Poster P2.70.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Internationally, young men (aged 18-25 years) have a high prevalence of overweight and obesity and many fail to meet recommended levels of physical activity or dietary guidelines. There is a lack of engagement and understanding of young men's needs in health-related research. Therefore, this study aims to explore young men's motivators and barriers to engaging in healthy eating and physical activity (PA). Ten focus groups (approx. 45 minutes; 3-9 participants/group) were conducted in 61 men (BMI: 25.3+/-5.1, Age: 18-25yrs) from the Hunter region, NSW, Australia. Three groups comprised healthy weight (HW) participants, three groups comprised overweight/obese (OW/OB) participants, while four groups included mixed-BMI participants. In total there were 35 (57.4%) HW men and 26 (42.6%) OW/OB men. Four open-ended questions established motivators and barriers. Sessions were audio recorded and transcribed. Data analysis was conducted by an independent qualitative researcher using NVIVO10. Motivators: OW/OB and HW young men perceived similar factors as motivators for adopting healthy eating patterns, with equal attention given to physical health aspects (e.g. to live longer) and social or intrinsic factors (e.g. sexual attractiveness). BMI status had little impact on types of motivating factors perceived to underpin engagement in PA. Amongst the most frequently mentioned were factors relating to physical appearance and social inclusion. Barriers to eating healthy addressed three general categories; those intrinsic to the person (e.g. lack of motivation), logistics (e.g. cost), and social factors (e.g. peer influence). Differences between BMI groups were identified for some intrinsic factors (e.g. Lack of knowledge was only mentioned by HW). Barriers to undertaking PA included lack of priority or value attached to PA (e.g. lack of time), logistical factors (e.g. cost) and personal insecurities (e.g. feelings of inadequacy). Often HW participants discussed barriers hypothetically, perhaps suggesting higher actual PA involvement amongst these participants, whilst OW/OB participants often discussed barriers in a more personal context. Future research involving young men should include strategies to promote the physical, social and intrinsic benefits of PA and healthy eating. Addressing key barriers such as lack of motivation, time constraints and cost may be used to engage this target group.